Spatial patterns of male alcohol-related mortality in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Russia
Introduction and Aims.Eastern Europe is known to suffer from a large burden of alcohol-related mortality. However,persisting unfavourable conditions at the national level mask variation at the sub-national level. We aim to explore spatialpatterns of cause-specific mortality across four post-communist countries: Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Russia (Europeanpart).Design and Methods.We use official mortality data routinely collected over 1179 districts and cities. The analysisrefers to males aged 20–64 years and covers the period 2006–2014. Mortality variation is mainly assessed by means of thestandardised mortality ratio.Getis-Ord Gi*statisticis employed to detect hot and cold spots of alcohol-related mortality.Results.Alcohol-related mortality exhibits a gradient from very high levels in northwestern Russia to low levels in southernPoland. Spatial transitions from higher to lower mortality are not explicitly demarcated by national boundaries. Within thesecountries, hot spots of alcohol-related mortality dominate the territories of northwestern and western Russia, eastern and north-western Belarus, southeastern Lithuania, and eastern and central Poland.Discussion and Conclusions.The observedmortality gradient is likely associated with the spread of alcohol epidemics from the European part of Russia to the other coun-tries, which appears to have started more than a century ago. Contemporary socioeconomic and demographic factors should betaken into account when developing anti-alcohol policies. The same is true for the peculiarities of culture, norms, traditionsand behavioural patterns observed in specific geographical areas of the four countries. Reducing alcohol-related harm in theareas identified as hot spots should be prioritised.
The book is comprised of 24 studies examining the changes in values throughout the process of transformation in the post-communist countries and, in general, the questions of values, their conceptualization and research as well as their role in the process of transformation and stratification. The studies present a new concept of empirical sociological study of values, cultural resources in class reproduction and ideology, problems of hedonism, social trust, cohesion, historical and cultural tradition and many other aspects of development of value structure in post-communist societies.
Background and Aim Harmful alcohol consumption has long been recognized as being the major determinant of male premature mortality in the European countries of the former USSR. Our focus here is on Belarus and Russia, two Slavic countries which continue to suffer enormously from the burden of the harmful consumption of alcohol. However, after a long period of deterioration, mortality trends in these countries have been improving over the past decade. We aim to investigate to what extent the recent declines in adult mortality in Belarus and Russia are attributable to the anti-alcohol measures introduced in these two countries in the 2000s. Data and Methods We rely on the detailed cause-specific mortality series for the period 1980–2013. Our analysis focuses on the male population, and considers only a limited number of causes of death which we label as being alcohol-related: accidental poisoning by alcohol, liver cirrhosis, ischemic heart diseases, stroke, transportation accidents, and other external causes. For each of these causes we computed age-standardized death rates. The life table decomposition method was used to determine the age groups and the causes of death responsible for changes in life expectancy over time. Conclusion Our results do not lead us to conclude that the schedule of anti-alcohol measures corresponds to the schedule of mortality changes. The continuous reduction in adult male mortality seen in Belarus and Russia cannot be fully explained by the anti-alcohol policies implemented in these countries, although these policies likely contributed to the large mortality reductions observed in Belarus and Russia in 2005–2006 and in Belarus in 2012. Thus, the effects of these policies appear to have been modest. We argue that the antialcohol measures implemented in Belarus and Russia simply coincided with fluctuations in alcohol-related mortality which originated in the past. If these trends had not been underway already, these huge mortality effects would not have occurred.
In this paper, we address the issue of what types of factors are crucial for regime transformation in post-communist countries. First, we test the relative importance of structural and actor-oriented factors using a specially constructed index of democracy. Cross-country regression analysis reveals that policy-related variables have higher statistical explanatory power: presidentialism vs. parliamentarism; opposition coming to power in the first founding elections; foreign policy orientation towards the West and state capture as the most significant variables. These findings are further corroborated and expanded by qualitative analysis.
Then we look at types of the post-communist stateness as another possible explanation of differences in regime transformation results. We propose a vector measure of stateness which is based on both statistical data and expert evaluations. This measure allows developing a typology of stateness in post-communist countries which is used to assess the relationship between regime and stateness dynamics. We find that post-communist states fulfilling well a broader range of social functions are more successful in the democratic development.
The main objective of this paper is the analysis of the development of Think Tanks and Public Policy Centers in Russia and other post-communist countries. Think Tanks are small practically oriented research teams comprising both academic researchers and experts who are familiar with political practices and capable of implementing proposed solutions to topical problems in social and political life. In the community of Think Tanks, which usually carry out commissions we can distinguish one type, the activities of which are based on a socially signifĳicant idea, i.e. the promotion of development in post-authoritarian and postcommunist states by encouraging truly public and open policy. In early 21st century such organizations were named “Public Policy Centers” (PPC).
Keywords Think Tanks , Public Policy centers , civil society , post-communist development.
The celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall provoked a debate on the outcomes of the transition process in the post-communist countries, including a debate on the functioning of civil society. This provided a good opportunity for researchers to collect new data and revise the discourse on collective action and the dynamics of civil society in these countries. Jacobsson and Saxonberg's collection of essays looks at social movements, and their forms of mobilization and organization, as well as action repertoires in relation to the social context, and their success or failure. The book meets an important need in the discourse on post-communist social movements by going beyond the usual discourse about the weak and non-participatory civil society in the post-communist context. This book gives a nuanced and updated view of social movements in post-communist Europe, by looking at the cases of relatively successful mobilization, by examining groups that have often been neglected in the discourse on social movements and civil society (including animal-rights groups, racist movements and non-feminist family organizations), and by giving a deeper analysis of the different strategies that civil society organizations and groups can use. Rather than expecting social movements in post-communist Europe to follow the same patterns and operate in the same fashion as in Western Europe, this volume shows that a wider view of contentious action is needed in order to understand the variety of strategies employed by collective actors operating in this context.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.
Smoking is a problem, bringing signifi cant social and economic costs to Russiansociety. However, ratifi cation of the World health organization Framework conventionon tobacco control makes it possible to improve Russian legislation accordingto the international standards. So, I describe some measures that should be taken bythe Russian authorities in the nearest future, and I examine their effi ciency. By studyingthe international evidence I analyze the impact of the smoke-free areas, advertisementand sponsorship bans, tax increases, etc. on the prevalence of smoking, cigaretteconsumption and some other indicators. I also investigate the obstacles confrontingthe Russian authorities when they introduce new policy measures and the public attitudetowards these measures. I conclude that there is a number of easy-to-implementanti-smoking activities that need no fi nancial resources but only a political will.
We address the external effects on public sector efficiency measures acquired using Data Envelopment Analysis. We use the health care system in Russian regions in 2011 to evaluate modern approaches to accounting for external effects. We propose a promising method of correcting DEA efficiency measures. Despite the multiple advantages DEA offers, the usage of this approach carries with it a number of methodological difficulties. Accounting for multiple factors of efficiency calls for more complex methods, among which the most promising are DMU clustering and calculating local production possibility frontiers. Using regression models for estimate correction requires further study due to possible systematic errors during estimation. A mixture of data correction and DMU clustering together with multi-stage DEA seems most promising at the moment. Analyzing several stages of transforming society’s resources into social welfare will allow for picking out the weak points in a state agency’s work.